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Recent Publications by New English Review Authors
The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Thursday, 5, 2008.
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Al-Qaeda claims responsibility for embassy bomb
Terror group al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for Monday's suicide bombing outside the Danish embassy in Pakistan.
In an internet statement, the group claims the attack that killed eight and wounded 30 was retaliation for publication caricatures of the prophet Mohammed, originally published in Denmark in September 2005, reports Reuters.
Mastafa Abu al-Yazid, the leader of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, is reported to have said the group 'had taken revenge against the unbelieving Danish government … that published degrading drawings of the prophet'.
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has previously promised to retaliate for the caricatures.
The announcement comes as Danish officials investigating the bomb site say they have reviewed surveillance videos of the area outside the embassy showing the blast.
Based on the preliminary results of the investigation, PET believes that the attack had been 'carefully planned out over an extended period of time'.
Posted on 06/05/2008 4:25 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Pray less, work more, says Islamic preacher
For Egyptian-born Muslim cleric and television host, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, there is a simple answer to Egypt's productivity problem -- pray less, work more.
'Praying is a good thing ... 10 minutes should be enough,' Al-Jazeera television personality Qaradawi says in a religious edict, or fatwa, published on his website.
Praying five times a day is one of the five pillars of Islam . . Two of each day's five sessions -- the dhuhr (noon) prayer and asr (afternoon) prayer -- fall within working hours, bringing work to a standstill at least twice a day in many places.
A prayer generally takes an average of 10 minutes, but it can be extended if a worshipper chooses to recite one of the longer verses of the Koran.
And before the prayers themselves, there is also a mandatory ablution during which worshippers must wash their faces, hands and arms, feet and heads. In large office buildings, the trips to the bathroom can also eat away at valuable work time.
Qaradawi's plea to reconcile faith and productivity may hit some hurdles as it risks upsetting the deeply entrenched custom of 'prayer breaks' at work.
Society's increased Islamisation over the past 30 years has already silenced some critics of long prayer sessions.
According to an official study, Egypt's six million government employees are estimated to spend an average of only 27 minutes per day actually working, reflecting a real problem with productivity.
Qaradawi's fatwa is aimed at removing prayer as a pretext for not producing.
Religious beliefs in Egypt are very overt, from the headscarf covering the majority of women's heads to the bruise on many a man's forehead showing how piously and how often he has touched his head to the ground in prostration.
-- Prayer must not be the pretext for wasting time at work --
In every large company, factory or public building, there is a formal prayer space. Individual prayer rugs, slumped over the backs of chairs or folded neatly on a desk, are often at hand in public offices, ready to be grabbed once the call to prayer booms out over the public address system.
In downtown Cairo, lies Mugamma, a 13-storey building that is the beating heart of Egypt's sprawling bureaucracy, where 65 different government services are performed by some 18,000 employees.
Thirty thousand people walk through the doors of the vast Soviet-style building every day, hoping to get a passport or a work permit, or whatever it is they need.
'But when it comes to prayer time, and there are many, there is no hope of anything getting done for an unknown length of time,' says Ahmed Ghani, whose company has tasked him with scouring the labyrinth for official stamps.
Qaradawi has a few ideas of his own to help shorten the prayer time: Muslims can do the mandatory pre-prayer wash at home before reaching the office, instead of in the office toilets during working hours.
'To save some time, they can also just put some water over their socks, instead of taking (socks) off to wash the feet,' Qaradawi says in his fatwa.
While it may be too early to judge the effects of the popular sheikh's fatwa on productivity in the work place, Egyptian clerics, in a rare show of unity, have largely agreed with the Qatar-based cleric.
'He's right. I cannot say the contrary. One must not waste time at work and use prayer as the pretext,' Sheikh Fawzi al-Zifzaf, of the centre of Islamic studies at Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam's main seat of learning, told AFP.
As for Mohammed al-Shahhat al-Gendi, secretary general of the Council of Supreme Islamic affairs, '10 minutes are absolutely suitable for one prayer. Improving productivity is not at all contrary to Islam'
Posted on 06/05/2008 4:33 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 5 June 2008

Matthew Parris writes on Ann - or Anne - Atkins:

Writing an article for The Spectator on Tuesday, I needed to quote the writer and broadcaster Ann (Anne?) Atkins. But was it Ann or Anne? Eventually, via Google, I was able to establish that among those who write about her there is an overwhelming preference for Anne, and this is what I plumped for. It took me about five minutes.

It usually does. About once a month (I reckon) I need to find out whether an Ann/Anne I'm writing to or about is Ann or Anne, so that's roughly an hour a year. If I die at 75 I may by then have spent a couple of days of my life getting my Anns/Annes right. To what purpose? So here's a message to all Anns/Annes. Could we toss a coin? Alternatively could we agree that there's no correct spelling and either will do? In return I promise not to care whether I'm Matthew Parris, Mathew Paris, or any combination of those two.

Another, albeit fictional, Anne would not agree. I refer, of course, to Anne of Green Gables:

"What's your name?"

The child hesitated for a moment.

"Will you please call me Cordelia?" she said eagerly.

"Call you Cordelia? Is that your name?"

"No-o-o, it's not exactly my name, but I would love to be called Cordelia. It's such a perfectly elegant name."

"I don't know what on earth you mean. If Cordelia isn't your name, what is?"

"Anne Shirley," reluctantly faltered forth the owner of that name, "but, oh, please do call me Cordelia. It can't matter much to you what you call me if I'm only going to be here a little while, can it? And Anne is such an unromantic name."

"Unromantic fiddlesticks!" said the unsympathetic Marilla. "Anne is a real good plain sensible name. You've no need to be ashamed of it."

"Oh, I'm not ashamed of it," explained Anne, "only I like Cordelia better. I've always imagined that my name was Cordelia--at least, I always have of late years. When I was young I used to imagine it was Geraldine, but I like Cordelia better now. But if you call me Anne please call me Anne spelled with an E."

"What difference does it make how it's spelled?" asked Marilla with another rusty smile as she picked up the teapot.

"Oh, it makes such a difference. It looks so much nicer. When you hear a name pronounced can't you always see it in your mind, just as if it was printed out? I can; and A-n-n looks dreadful, but A-n-n-e looks so much more distinguished. If you'll only call me Anne spelled with an E I shall try to reconcile myself to not being called Cordelia."

Just below his piece on Ann(e) Atkins, Matthew Parris refers to our (useless) Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith. Call me irrational if you like, but Jacqui sounds different from Jackie. It does, you know. Oh, all right then, objectively it doesn't. But speech and writing are inextricably linked for most of us, so in our mind's ear, as in our mind's eye, Jacqui and Jackie are different. In any case, there must surely be a connection between Ms Smith's incompetence and her tacqui spelling.

Posted on 06/05/2008 5:25 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 5 June 2008
The Farthest Mosque

The phrase that Jiad Rian finally located, and that he thought included the word for "Jerusalem," about "al-masjid al-aksa" -- the "farthest mosque." Many Muslims do not know that there was considerable debate over where to locate that "farthest mosque." It was the Umayyah caliph, sitting in Damascus, who wanted to lay claim to Jerusalem for Islam, who cast the winning vote for those who argued in favor of Jerusalem. But nowhere in the Qur'an is Jerusalem mentioned. One hopes that MEMRI will carry this little embarrassing episode of the Muslim host not remembering his Qur'an aright -- seeking Jerusalem here, seeking Jerusalem there, seeking Jerusalem everywhere.

But there is one statement made by Mordechai Kedar with which issue can be taken. He told Al Jazeera viewers that

"The West bank does not belong to any nation because it was not under a nation's jurisdiction, unlike the Sinai Peninsula."

But the Sinai was, like all deserts, mostly a corpus separatum, held not to be part of any nation. It is true that a small strip, along the Suez Canal, was considered part of Egypt. But most of the Sinai was never considered part of Egypt, but akin to the desert, or Hudibrastic "desarts vast," of Arabia.

That the Sinai was not considered part of Egypt in the nineteenth century can be gleaned from book titles, such as"Sinai and Palestine" by  the Anglican divine Stanley, and that collection of Francis Frith's  photographs of "Egypt, Sinai, and Palestine."

So under the Ottomans, while the Sinai was part of the Ottoman Empire, it did not belong administratively to Egypt, nor to any of the Ottoman vilayets to the north. Egypt finally obtained administrative control of most of the Sinai only in the 1920s. A map clearly showing this can be found in the Diary of Col. Meinertzhagen, now a hard-to-obtain collector's item that deserves to be reprinted.

A little more on Sinai and Egypt here.
Posted on 06/05/2008 6:29 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Tears And Gnashing Of Teeth

Hamas and Fatah respond to Obama's speech at AIPAC.

ABC blog: Sen. Barack Obama's speech to AIPAC has convinced Hamas that he and Sen. John McCain are interchangeable. If the group had its druthers, neither one would win.

"Obama’s comments have confirmed that there will be no change in the U.S. administration’s foreign policy on the Arab-Israeli conflict," Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters in Gaza.

"The Democratic and Republican parties support totally the Israeli occupation at the expense of the interests and rights of Arabs and Palestinians," he said. "Hamas does not differentiate between the two presidential candidates, Obama and McCain, because their policies regarding the Arab-Israel conflict are the same and are hostile to us, therefore we do have no preference and are not wishing for either of them to win."

Hamas had never actually endorsed Obama. In April, Hamas political adviser Ahmed Yousef told WABC radio that "we like Mr. Obama. We hope he will [win] the election and I do believe he is like John Kennedy, great man with great principle, and he has a vision to change America to make it in a position to lead the world community but not with domination and arrogance."

The campaign of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at the time characterized this as an endorsement, and made hay out of the kind words.

But today it wasn't just the terrorists of Hamas expressing chagrin at Obama's speech.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas took issue with Obama's assertion that Jerusalem would remain the "undivided" capital of Israel.

"We reject these words," Abbas said. "Jerusalem is one of the files under negotiation. The entire world knows perfectly well that we will never accept a state without Jerusalem. That should be clear."

And Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat said that Obama's "remarks on Jerusalem cast doubt over the chances of peace...We reject the positions of Barack Obama because they are in contradiction with the traditional positions of the United States which considers that east Jerusalem is under occupation."

Posted on 06/05/2008 6:58 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Eric Holder on Obama's Veep Search Committee

So Sen. Obama, who is trying to distance himself from the Weather Underground terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, has named to his Vice Presidential Search Committee Eric Holder ... the top Clinton Justice Department official who was deeply enmeshed in the disgraceful pardons granted by President Clinton on his way out the door — pardons which included two Weather Underground terrorists, whose lengthy terrorism sentences were commuted. (And that is to say nothing of Holder's involvement in the infamous pardon of the international fraudster, Marc Rich.)

That's, um, an interesting choice ...
Posted on 06/05/2008 7:07 AM by Andy McCarthy
Thursday, 5 June 2008
The Company He Kept

WaPo: CHICAGO, June 5 -- Antoin Rezko, a Chicago businessman and longtime fundraiser for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), was convicted of 16 felony corruption charges Wednesday in a case that alleged influence peddling in the upper reaches of the administration of Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D).

After two months of vivid testimony about political profiteering in Illinois state government, the 12-member jury found Rezko guilty of using his clout as a Blagojevich insider to shake down companies hoping to do business with the state. The 16 counts included fraud, money laundering and abetting bribery. Rezko was acquitted of eight counts, including extortion.

Posted on 06/05/2008 7:15 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 5 June 2008
The Insanity Defense

American Justice doesn't seem to be able to handle terrorism cases at all. In this case the jurors seem to be confused as to the sanity of the defendant. We see this attitude throughout the justice system where clear jihad motivation has been put down to mental illness time and time again. The administration seems to play into this by wanting put categorize these jihad attacks as NOT TERRORISM. (hat tip; LGF)

SEATTLE, Washington (AP) -- A judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case of a man who stormed into a Jewish center two years ago and shot six women, killing one, as he ranted against Israel and the Iraq war.

Jurors had indicated in questions posed to the judge that they were hopelessly deadlocked and struggling to determine whether Naveed Haq, 32, was not guilty by reason of insanity, as he claimed.

King County Superior Court Judge Paris Kallas ended the jury's deliberations in their eighth day.

The jurors reached a partial verdict on only one of the 15 counts against Haq, finding him not guilty of attempted first-degree murder of one of the women. But they couldn't agree on the lesser charge of attempted second-degree murder or any of the other 14 charges, which included murder.

Haq held a teenage girl at gunpoint to force his way into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle on July 28, 2006. Once in the second-floor office, he began railing against U.S. policies and opened fire when someone tried to call 911. He shot some people in their cubicles, some in the hall and one, Pamela Waechter, fatally as she fled down a stairwell.

An emergency operator eventually persuaded him to surrender.

Prosecutors quickly announced that they hope to retry Haq this year, and representatives of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle expressed their disappointment at the mistrial.

"There is no argument Haq killed Pam. There is no argument he viciously shot five others. There is no argument that he made anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements. Somehow, all this was not enough," Jewish Federation President Richard Fruchter said.

During the six-week trial, prosecutors did not dispute that Haq had mental problems and had struggled to make friends and hold down jobs. But he knew right from wrong, could tell what he was doing and wanted to get his message out, they said.

His message was "Death to the Jews!"

Posted on 06/05/2008 7:21 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 5 June 2008
[Muslim] attack is indefensible, but...

You know, even before you see what comes after the "but", that you are probably reading the words of a Guardian columnist. The journalist, writing on the attack on the Danish embassy in Pakistan, is himself a Dane - but not a great one - by the name of Jakob Illeborg. Predictably, having stated that Muslim behaviour was indefensible, he goes on to defend it, and in turn to blame Denmark - not one newspaper, but Denmark - then America explicitly, and Israel implicitly. Not least among the inconsistencies of Guardian writers is their opposition to "collective punishment" of "Palestinians" and their "understanding" of attacks on or boycott of whole nations because of one newspaper or novel.

The Guardian is probably delighted to have a Muslim supporting-Dane, as it would be to have an Israel-hating Jew. David Thompson is less than impressed.

When the 73-year-old cartoonist Kurt Westergaard was forced into hiding following a plot to murder him, several Danish papers republished Westergaard’s cartoon as both an affirmation of free speech and an expression of solidarity. This was, according to Illeborg,

A headstrong idealistic response.

Given Mr Illeborg’s articles appear on a website named Comment is Free, one might find this disapproval a tad peculiar. Though perhaps not quite as peculiar as his willingness to denounce as “headstrong” a perfectly legal activity, while carefully avoiding any such pejoratives when referring to those making death threats and setting fire to schools.


Illeborg’s most recent article, titled Denmark Loses Tolerance, once again demonstrates a craven doublethink that has come to define much of the Guardian’s commentary on the subject of Islam. In an attempt to illustrate “how far Denmark has moved from the liberal values it was once proud of,” Illeborg highlights, of all things, Monday’s suicide bomb attack on the Danish embassy in Islamabad. Just pause for a moment. Think about that. A claim that Danes are “losing tolerance” is illustrated with an Islamist attack on a Danish embassy in which 6 people died and burned body parts were left strewn across the road.

Ever since the prophet cartoon crises of 2006 and 2008, Islamist extremists around the world have been threatening bloody revenge on Denmark.

Ah, bloody revenge. For a cartoon. Note that the intolerance which most troubles Mr Illeborg is that of “headstrong” Danes who wish to retain a freethinking culture, and not the rather more emphatic intolerance of men so vain they blow off people’s limbs and burn them to death. At this point one might reflect on how it is that some among us have come to accept the idea that an unflattering cartoon is a comprehensible “cause” of death threats and dismemberment. The cause is not, it seems, lunatic pride cultivated in the name of piety.

Monday's attack, is of course, indefensible,

Wait for it.


There we go.

it raises questions about the wisdom of the much-debated cartoons and Danish reactions to Muslim wrath. Not because anything about any cartoon - no matter how provocative - justifies such acts of violence, but because the cartoons ended up playing into the hands of extremists who could utilise it to “prove” how badly the west behaves towards Muslims.

Having previously made quite a few excuses for Islamic violence and its accommodation, Illeborg goes on to say,

Denmark has now become a target, and while [this] should in no way be excused, we ought to have known better.

The claim that “we ought to have known better” implies a great many things that Illeborg takes care not to state too clearly. Apparently, it’s okay to have certain rights provided we don’t actually use them or defend them against assault. Or, as Illeborg previously chose to word it, rather coyly:

Most of us agree that the Danish newspapers have the right to print the cartoons, but they don’t have an obligation to do so.

Likewise, in order to believe that publishing the cartoons constitutes being “headstrong” or “behaving badly” one would first have to forget the series of violent events that prompted them and on which they passed comment. Then one would have to imagine that backing down in the face of threats and intimidation will not invite more of the same. One would also have to believe that even the most ludicrous religious vanities, including fantasies of dominion, are deserving of respect. Not just tolerance, mind, but respect, which is not the same thing at all. And, by implication, one would have to believe that the taboos and ticks of Islam should, as a matter of courtesy, extend to non-Muslims, even those who find Muhammad an absurd and contemptible figure.

Posted on 06/05/2008 8:08 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Prison Is So Confining for Terrorists
A few weekends ago, our friend Peter Robinson and I had an exchange on the Corner about why it is so difficult to prevent prison inmates from continuing their criminal activities from behind bars.  This AP story out of Florida is case in point—and sets the blood boiling.

Kifah Wael Jayyousi was charged in Florida, along with the so-called “dirty bomber” Jose Padilla, of various terrorism offenses.  He has been convicted and sentenced to twelve years in jail.  That should be the end of the court’s participation in his case.  But no:  though the federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has designated him to serve his sentence at a high-security unit in the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana, Florida federal judge Marcia Cooke has blocked the transfer, at least temporarily.  Why?  So she can entertain the claim that the transfer and increased monitoring to which convicted terrorists are subjected may violate their “rights.”

The claim is frivolous.  Once a defendant is convicted, he is—in the argot of the criminal justice system—“committed to the custody of the Attorney General” to serve his sentence (BOP is a Justice Department agency.)  The courts don’t run the prisons; their function is to ensure that no one is convicted and sent to a prison unless he has first had a fair trial.  Once that happens, it’s for the Justice Department to decide where a sentence should be served and what the conditions of confinement should be.  Yet, here is Judge Cooke convening a two-day hearing (which is not yet finished) to listen as a convicted terrorist and his lawyers moan that Terre Haute would be too draconian because Jayyousi’s “communications would be closely monitored, every piece of mail reviewed and visitors limited.”

According to the AP, Cooke magnanimously concedes that “the law does give prison officials broad discretion over inmates' lives.”  As she put it, “They get to decide when you wake up, when you go to sleep, when you're going to eat, and who gets to visit.”  For Cooke, this arrangement “may not be preferable, but it may be correct.”  That’s big of her … but one wonders what she figures would be “preferable.”

Did I mention  that both Obama and McCain would close Guantanamo Bay and bring the jihadist combatants held there into the territorial United States … where they, too, could start filing petitions like Jayyousi’s?

Posted on 06/05/2008 8:20 AM by Andy McCarthy
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Lewis Carroll interlude

When a Guardian columnist writes "but", he generally follows it by defending the indefensible. It would be better if he stopped at "but", because we all know what is coming next. But while many sentences start with but - this one for instance - not many end with it. Off the top of my head, I can only think of one: Humpty Dumpty's poem in Through the Looking Glass. This poem, like others by Lewis Carroll, are commonly described as "nonsense poems". To me as a child, and to the still-childish part of my mind, they have always made perfect sense. Especially this one: 

In winter, when the fields are white,
I sing this song for your delight -

In spring, when woods are getting green,
I'll try and tell you what I mean.

In summer, when the days are long,
Perhaps you'll understand the song:

In autumn, when the leaves are brown,
Take pen and ink, and write it down.

I sent a message to the fish:
I told them 'This is what I wish.'

The little fishes of the sea
They sent an answer back to me.

The little fishes' answer was
'We cannot do it, Sir, because - '

I sent to them again to say
'It will be better to obey.'

The fishes answered with a grin
'Why, what a temper you are in!'

I told them once, I told them twice;
They would not listen to advice.
I took a kettle large and new,
Fit for the deed I had to do,

My heart went hop, my heart went thump;
I filled the kettle at the pump.

Then some one came to me and said,
'The little fishes are in bed.'

I said to him, I said it plain,
'Then you must wake them up again.'

I said it very loud and clear;
I went and shouted in his ear.

But he was very stiff and proud;
He said 'You needn't shout so loud!'

And he was very proud and stiff;
He said 'I'd go and wake them, if -'

I took a corkscrew from the shelf:
I went to wake them up myself.

And when I found the door was locked,
I pulled and pushed and kicked and knocked.

And when I found the door was shut
I tried to turn the handle, but -

Posted on 06/05/2008 8:38 AM by Mary Jackson
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Al-Qaida threatens Norway
Terrorist organization al-Qaida, which has claimed responsibility for Monday’s bombing of the Danish Embassy in Pakistan, now is making threats against Norway as well.
Al-Qaida's leader in Afghanistan, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, reported in a written bulletin Thursday that it carried out the terrorist attack on the Danish Embassy in Islamabad.
Al-Yazid claimed that more attacks are in the works, and the targets will be embassies and diplomatic personnel from countries that also published the Mohammed caricatures.
IntelCenter, an American intelligence organization that monitors al-Qaida messages, believes that since Norway is among such countries, it is therefore directly threatened by al-Qaida.
Norway's embassy in Pakistan closed immediately after Monday’s bombing, to repair damage and assess its security.
Aud Marit Wiig, ambassador to Pakistan, wasn't aware of al-Qaida's message when contacted by, but said that Norwegian authorities "of course must take it seriously."
Posted on 06/05/2008 9:32 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Special Courts For Terrorism Trials

In 2007, after a terrorism trial similar to the one described by Rebecca Bynum here, and a similar miscarriage of justice, I wrote about the need for special courts, with specially-trained judges. For juries present a special problem. All Muslims, and all suspected Muslim sympathizers, would simply have to be excluded during a voir dire, and in order to do so the prosecutors would have to lay out, in great and convincing detail, the nature of Islam as a Total Belief-System, and the enormous hold it has over the minds of so many of its Believers, and the loyalty, the sole loyalty, that is owed to fellow members of the Umma and to Islam. And this would have to be gone into at such great length, and with such expert testimony, and would take so long, and would have to be repeated again and again for each separate trial involving acts of Muslim terrorism, that the drain, and the expense, would be intolerable.

And even if all Muslims, and all detectable sympathizers with Islam (which could include those who have their own quarrel with “The System” or the usual, irreducible percentage of the population that can be described as anti-Semitic), were to be kept out in a voir dire, that would still leave the problem of the non-Muslim members of a jury who, like most people today, like President Bush, for example, and so many members of the government, including those who are choosing the vocabulary to be employed by the State Department and, if they have their druthers, the security services, refuse to believe that an ardent Muslim, in full command of his senses, would kill civilians in the name of Islam. But of course they would, and they do, and are not regarded as crazy. Is Osama Bin Laden crazy? What about the hundreds of millions of Muslims who say they sympathize with, agree with, the attacks made by Al Qaeda? At what point will non-Muslims begin to understand that in the closed mental world of Islam, such people are not crazy? Would testimony from apostates do the trick? Would readings from the greatest Western analyzers of the Muslim mind help?

It is an impossible task.

And that is why I keep recommending the establishment of special courts, courts where the verdicts would be entrusted not to juries, but to judges, and not just to any judges,  but to judges who had been specially trained in the subject of Islam. They need not be described quite so openly as such. It would be politically difficult, I realize, to explain that “Security Courts” or “Homeland Security Courts” or (choose another name), required special knowledge of Islam. So don’t broadcast that. Simply set up courts designed to deal with an unprecedented danger, and requiring special knowledge on the part of judges, and then, as a large component of that special knowledge, make clear that study of the “ideology” of those committing these acts would be a major requirement for judges appointed to such courts.

We can’t continue to endure the spectacle of one mistrial, or miscarriage of justice, after another. There isn’t time, there isn’t money, and we can’t, nor can the courts in Western Europe, continue to be stymied by the inability of so many in the West to acquire the requisite knowledge of the Total Belief-System of Islam, or to make full use of that acquisition.

Here are some past posts on the subject:


Two weeks ago I put up the posting below. It was about another case, but judging by the behavior of the judge as described, it applies to the case described in the article above as well:

‘This shows again the need for special courts, with jurisdiction over all cases about Jihad, for they cannot be understood without a solid grounding in the texts and tenets and attitudes and atmospherics of Islam, and that takes a bit of study, far more study than the average judge will put in, and certainly more than those selected for juries.

These should be based on the Patent and Tax Courts, in which a panel of judges, who have received a solid grounding in Patent Law, aor Tax Law, and have specialized in those matters so that they can understand the issues in order to better decide.

If ordinary judges are not up to the task, juries are even less so. For all it takes, on a jury in a terrorism case, is for one person to have been threatened. Or for one juror to be a Muslim (how could all Muslims be systematically challenged and kept off of such juries, without a Constitutional objection being raised and, alas, likely to be upheld because the real nature of Islam will not be discussed, and not brought to the attention of the Supreme Court in any brief) or a sympathizer with Islam, or someone determined to "settle scores" with (the Bush Administration, Amerikka, "Zionists" you name it).

No, we can't have another of these farces, as with the Holy Land Foundation, where the meticulously gathered evidence was overwhelming, convincing beyond any reasonable doubt to any reasonable person who also understood, grasped the nature of, Jihad and of Islam. And that latter requirement is the Big Problem that our system, and all Infidel systems of justice, will have to learn to deal with.

Special courts, with panels of specially-educated judges, are a part of the answer."

[Posted by: Hugh at November 21, 2007 5:13 PM]

Posted by: Hugh at December 6, 2007 12:44 AM


#2. And here is an  excerpt from a comment on still another trial that descended into farce:

“And this is not the first, nor will it be the last, farcical trial. The need for judges to be instructed in the nature of Islam, of its texts, tenets, attitudes, atmospherics, to understand the loyalties -- to Islam, then to the sect, then to the tribe, then to the family, without any loyalty conceivably being given to the Infidel nation-state or to its legal and political institutions -- is a concept that is hard for ordinary people (and judges are perfectly ordinary people), with conventional ideas that they have picked up, about...oh, about how we all want the same thing, and if someone works for the army in Iraq that someone must be a good, loyal, wrongly-suspected American, and so on -- well, that kind of naive and dangerous mindset just has to go.

And the whole thing is and will remain a farce, using ordinary courts, with their ordinary juries and ordinary judges, when what is needed are special courts, with judges trained in the relevant matters (and the most relevant matter is Islam), who can dispense justice in a way that makes sense, adequate to the high task at hand. Such courts exist wherever specialized knowledge is required -- Tax Courts, Patent Courts. There should be such courts for cases of Muslim terrorism. This is a difficult and unpleasant problem, for it raises the matter of having to learn about Islam. But it has to be discussed, in detail, rationally. We cannot all be put permanently at risk because everyone is afraid of offending either Muslims, or the kind of people who, though non-Muslim, are "offended" by discussions about something which, of course, they really know nothing about, but have their attitudes, and their attitudinizing, to keep them warm.”

[Posted by: Hugh at May 14, 2008 8:52 AM]

Posted on 06/05/2008 10:16 AM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed On Trial

As Hugh argues below as he has many times in the past, neither military tribunals, nor regular criminal courts, are not going to be able to dispense justice in terror cases. This proceeding is already turning into a circus. We need special terrorism courts.

AP: GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - Khalid Sheikh Mohammed said he would welcome becoming a "marytr" after a judge warned Thursday that he faces the death penalty for his confessed role as mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Wearing thick glasses and occasionally fussing with his turban or stroking his bushy gray beard, Mohammed seemed noticeably thinner in his first appearance since his capture in Pakistan in 2003. It was a stark contrast to the image the U.S. showed to the world back then, of a slovenly man with disheveled hair, an unshaven face and a T-shirt.

Mohammed also sang verses from the Quran, rejected his attorneys and told Judge Ralph Kohlmann, a Marine colonel, that he wants to represent himself at the war crimes trial. The judge warned that he faces execution if convicted of organizing the attacks on America. But the former No. 3 leader of al-Qaida was insistent.

"Yes, this is what I wish, to be a martyr for a long time," Mohammed declared. "I will, God willing, have this, by you."

Mohammed and his four alleged co-conspirators each face death if convicted of war crimes including murder, conspiracy, attacking civilians and terrorism by hijacking planes to attack U.S. landmarks. The murder charges involve the deaths of 2,973 people at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania where passengers forced down their plane.

The arraignment begins the highest-profile test yet of the military's tribunal system, which faces an uncertain future. The Supreme Court is to rule this month on the rights of Guantanamo prisoners, potentially delaying or halting the proceedings.

It also carries some strategic risk, and the military is trying to minimize the chance that Mohammed will be able to spread al-Qaida propaganda in courtoom speeches. The judge announced a 20-second delay in the closed-circuit video feed to prevent classified information from being disclosed outside the tightly-controlled courtroom.

None of the defendants wore handcuffs during Thursday's proceeding, but retractable leg chains hidden underneath the raised courtroom floor were available to restrain them if they become unruly.

Calmly propping his glasses on his turban to peer at legal papers, Mohammed also grinned and exchanged a few words with someone at the defense table occupied by Waleed bin Attash, who allegedly selected and trained some of the 19 hijackers who turned airplanes into missiles in the attacks.

"There is no God but him, in him I have put my trust," Mohammed sang before Kohlmann asked him to stop.

Mohammed was repeatedly interrogated by the CIA at secret sites before he was transferred to the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2006. His defense has said he may have suffered cognitive impairment from the interrogations, which according to the Bush administration included waterboarding, a technique creates the sensation of drowning by strapping a person down and pouring water over his or her cloth-covered face.

Mohammed told the judge he understands there are certain subjects he should not bring up in court, but said the Quran should be within the "green line," or permitted.

"I can't mention about the torturing," Mohammed added in broken English. "I know this is the red line."

Military commissions have been conducted since George Washington used them after the end of the Revolutionary War, but this is the first time the United States has used them during an ongoing conflict, said Air Force Brig. Gen. Tom Hartmann, a top tribunal official.

The Supreme Court struck down the commissions as unconstitutional in 2006. Congress then altered and resurrected them, but they have remained mired in confusion over courtroom rules, dogged by delays, and challenged repeatedly as unconstitutional...

Posted on 06/05/2008 12:43 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Defense Department Follies

ABCNews: The US military has awarded an $80 million contract to a prominent Saudi financier who has been indicted by the US Justice Department. The contract to supply jet fuel to American bases in Afghanistan was awarded to the Attock Refinery Ltd, a Pakistani-based refinery owned by Gaith Pharaon. Pharaon is wanted in connection with his alleged role at the failed Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), and the CenTrust savings and loan scandal, which cost US tax payers $1.7 billion.

The Saudi businessman was also named in a 2002 French parliamentary report as having links to informal money transfer networks called hawala, known to be used by traders and terrorists, including Al Qaeda.

Interestingly, Pharaon was also an investor in President George W. Bush's first business venture, Arbusto Energy.

A spokesman for the FBI said Pharaon was not wanted in connection with the French report, but confirmed he was still sought by the US Justice Department...

Posted on 06/05/2008 1:09 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 5 June 2008
A Musical Interlude: What Is This Thing Called Love? (Libby Holman)
Posted on 06/05/2008 2:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 5 June 2008
More On Obama At AIPAC

Obama said things that his AIPAC audience either did not notice, or chose not to notice, or kept their fleeting worries to themselves, perhaps not even mentioning them later on to others who had so enthusiastically greeted the speech. After all, they want, do they not, so desperately to believe that things will be alright, that Israel will be alright, that they have nothing to fear. But really. Obama’s support for an "undivided capitol" is standard election-year fare. Why, I’d bet even Jimmy Carter came close to promising that. And don’t candidates, even the ones who are elected, promise that they will promptly move the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in order that there may be "no ambiguity" about "where we stand." And then those making these policy promises are wildly, excitedly, too-trustingly given standing ovations at AIPAC and before similar audiences. And then, of course, they never carry them out.


Obama referred to "the Palestinian people." Stop right there. Yes, I know all kinds of people use that phrase, unthinkingly. But Obama can think. Axelrod can think. They might have taken this occasion to daringly signal, by the simple the demotion of the word “Palestinian” to adjective, and the addition of one noun, to have transformed the discussion. He, Obama, might have talked, with an impact that would have been historic, of the “Palestinian Arabs.” But he didn’t – of course McCain hasn’t either.


Apparently he has not yet given any thought to whether this is indeed a separate people, with a distinct language, culture, religion, and so on, or whether, just perhaps, there may be evidence (oh, there is), that the sudden appearance of this "Palestinian people" after the Six-Day War can be explained by the need, after that defeat, for the Arabs to go back to the old genocidal drawing-board, and now realizing that Israel could not immediately be destroyed militarily, as they had hoped, they would have to begin to convince the West to help them push Israel back to more manageable dimensions, and also to present their formerly quite-open desire to destroy the State of Israel, that Infidel nation-state smack in the middle of what they saw as one uninterrupted Arab Muslim sea, as Arafat and many others have said, “from the Atlantic to the Gulf” and beyond, as prompted not by Islam, but by deep solicitousness for this newly-invented “Palestinian people” and their “national liberation.” And slowly, little by little, as older people who remembered that not a single Arab leader, or Arab diplomat, or Arab spokesman, had before 1967 ever referred to this “Palestinian people” but called them what they were – Arabs, the local Arabs who were merely the shock troops, in situ, of the general Arab and Muslim effort against the Infidel nation-state of Israel, left the scene, and people who did not remember, and did not know, about this new development, and who, further, had very little knowledge either of Islam, or of the history of the conflict that was made on the Jews of Israel and before that, on the Jews of Mandatory Palestine (with the British failing to live up to their obligations, as Mandatory Authority, not only to adequately protect those Jews from attack – see what happened during the pogrom in the Old City in 1921, or how the British resident Caffarata behaved in Hebron, during the Arab massacre of every last Jew, in 1929). And of course, it is only just now that we are relearning what we never should have unlearned, which is the traditional treatment of Jews, and of Christians, under Islam.


No, Barack Obama shows no signs of knowing any of this, and indeed he repeats all the themes, from Bush and the other Bush and from Clinton and from the egregious Carter, about the “Palestinian people” and their “need” for a state. And he goes so far  as to say that that “state” should be “contiguous,” which means, of course, that the Arabs (“Palestinians”) of Gaza and the Arabs in the “West Bank” (“Palestinians”) are somehow to be linked, but if they are linked then it is Israel that will be cut in two, in order to accommodate those who –because of the promptings of the Qur’an, Hadith, and Sira – will never, ever willingly acquiesce in the existence of Israel. And Obama presumably also means that within the “West Bank” the Arab settlements – for they are “settlements” no more and no less than are those places we call, so dismissively, Jewish “settlements” – are to be “contiguous” then that would mean that any Jewish towns or villages would be cut off.


Any political figure who appears before AIPAC can put his hand on his heart and talk about  his sincere undying devotion to Israel, can assure his (or her) audience that her (or his) commitment, and the commitment of the United States,  is “sacrosanct.” But this means little, if in the next breathe you set out as your policy the very outcomes, which if they came to pass would do, in their complete lack of comprehension of what Israel faces, and what it will always face as an Infidel nation-state, and you have to choose. Either you choose Israel, and you do not prevent it from holding onto the “West Bank” with its historic invasion routes, and command of those routes, from the Judean Hills, and the aquifers under the “West Bank” which the Arabs have been misusing and, indeed, in some places seem to be deliberately poisoning, or you do not. You cannot say, no one would say, that we support country X, and that support is “sacrosanct,” but we also insist that Country X give up its legal, moral, and historic claims, and surrender territory – as it has again and again in the past, only to have every single agreement made with Arab states breached, in ways little and big, by those Muslim states, while Israel always scrupulously gives up whatever tangible assets – land – it has committed to yielding.


The more one reads over Barack Obama’s speech, the more worrisome for those who are not misled, or fooled, by sentimental appeals.


Rhetorically honoring the memory of Schwerner and Goodman may make certain hearts swell, and of course they should. Good god, I remember how I wept when I learned that they, and Cheney, had been killed. But, I’m afraid, the invocation of those  names, and the implied promise of some “black-Jewish” alliance, may be just the thing to win praise from Tikkun readers. But the renewal of such an alliance (hovering in the background are memories of Jack Greenberg at the NAACP, and Paul Robeson – and Alberta Hunter, too --  singing in Yiddish, and the ILGWU in the days of David Dubinsky and before him, Sid (“Clear It With Sidney”) Hillman, and all the rest, going back to the earliest days of the NAACP, long before a Farrakhan arrived on the scene. No doubt about it, there was such sympathy, there was such an alliance – in the sense that Jews did give time and money and sympathy, long before other whites did. And it is perfectly fine for Barack Obama to recognize that, and even to appeal to it. But he, and his AIPAC audience, and a much larger audience beyond, have  to understand that alluding to Schwerner and Goodman and Cheney, and to the old days, will do nothing to stop rockets from raining on Sderot, or Ashdod from Gaza, or on Tel Aviv, or Jerusalem, from the “West Bank,” in a future “Palestinian state,” a “contiguous state,” that would be intolerable for the future safety of Israel. .



The war against Israel is not a war about “two tiny peoples” each “struggling for a homeland. It is a war by the Arabs and the Muslims – the same Arabs who are called “Arabs” in the phrase “there are Arabs and Kurds in Iraq” or who are called “Arabs” when we speak about Morocco and Algeria as containing “both Arabs and Berbers” or who are called “Arabs” when any of us, when Samantha Powers, for example, describes the situation in the Sudan, where “Arabs” attack “blacks” in Darfur or in the southern Sudan. Only in one particular case does everyone avoid using the word “Arabs” and that is when they, often unwittingly, use the word “Palestinians” for what is merely that group of Arabs who have been used, quite willingly, by all the Arabs and Muslims who, having failed to destroy Israel as yet through qitaal, or combat, are determined to push it back, and push it back, and then, at some point in the future, foreseeing a rump state that is impossible to defend, and a demoralized population, eventually that state will come undone.


It took nearly 2000 years for the re-establishment of the Jewish commonwealth, in the Land of Israel, by the survivors of both kinds of antisemitism, the kind in the Western world of which the Nazis, and their many collaborators, represented some kind of hideous apotheosis, and of Islamic antisemitism, different in its promptings and in some of its attitudes, but not different in what it means for the victims today, the nearly one million Jews who had endured life under Arab rule, but then were forced to flee for their lives, with many of them creating new lives in the State of Israel. And given that history, given the history of both kinds of antisemitism, and given the real history, cadastral and demographic, of that territory that under rule by the Ottomans, and assigned to different vilayets, and before that ruled by the Seljuk Turks, and before that, by Arabs, became by the nineteenth century, when Western travelers visited, a land “of ruin and desolation,” anyone who at this point, still declares himself in favor of a “state” – a “contiguous” state, mind you, for the “Palestinian people,” is someone who has not yet learned what that, seemingly so plausible and acceptable, really means.


It means the certain death, sooner or later, of Israel. It took nearly 2000 years for the Jews, with the most incredible of efforts, virtually alone, to rebuild a Second Commonwealth. If this one falls, they will never get a second chance.


Would that someone could go to Obama, and of course to McCain (whose instincts are right, even if he still supports, maddeningly, the American presence in Iraq), and give him a short and lucid course – quite different in content from the one Obama took from that sly islamochristian Khalidi – on the history of the Middle East, and the history of Islam, with its texts and tenets spelled out, and on the origins and true meaning of the phrase “Palestinian people,” and on certain unpleasant realities about invasion routes, and watertables, and above all, on why any further Israeli surrenders of territory, or control of territory, will inevitably whet, not sate, Arab and Muslim appetites, and that the only “solution” is not that which ignores Islam, but that takes into account the unassuagable, but containable, impulse and duty, for Muslims, of tearing down all obstacles to the spread, and dominance, of Islam, all over the world, but even higher on that To-Do List is the necessity, the sublime duty, of making sure that every square inch of land once possessed by Muslims is again recaptured by, and for, Muslims, by whatever means prove, at any point, most effective.

Posted on 06/05/2008 2:26 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 5 June 2008
The Uyghur Platform

MEMRI: The Islamic Party of Turkestan" is a jihadist group operating in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (also known as Chinese Turkestan or Uyghuristan), a region in northwestern China inhabited mostly by Muslims.

The following are excerpts from the platform document:

"We are a group that promotes jihad for the sake of Allah... Its members, [united in] monotheism, devoutness, piety, and jihad for the sake of Allah, aim to liberate Muslim East Turkestan from the apostate Communist Chinese occupation... and impose shari'a [law] in [this region]. By cooperating with the Muslim mujahideen throughout the Islamic world [we aim to] restore the Islamic Caliphate and impose shari'a throughout the world."


"Our Goals Are:

"To train the Muslim Turkestani youth to wage jihad..."

"To prepare the Muslim Turkestani masses [for jihad] and to bring them back to the right path [i.e. to the Salafi creed]..."

"To cooperate with all the groups waging jihad for the sake of Allah throughout the world, in order to repel the attacks of the apostates... and drive the Crusaders, Zionists and apostates from our Islamic world..."



"We believe that, like most Muslim countries, East Turkestan is under the direct and indirect occupation of apostates... and is governed by secular and democratic constitutions and laws...

"We believe that if Muslim countries are under direct or indirect occupation... waging jihad against those who rule them and subject them to apostate laws becomes a mandatory [duty].

"We believe that, since the apostate attacker has invaded our lands, jihad in the path of Allah has become a personal duty incumbent upon every Muslim in Turkestan..."

"We deem it necessary to impose shari'a in East Turkestan and in all [other] Muslim countries after they are liberated from the imperialists and apostates...

"We believe that any presence of the apostate Chinese occupiers - be it military, governmental, political or economic - is a legitimate target for jihad... This statement is a declaration of war upon them, and they must therefore leave East Turkestan immediately."

"We consider the presence of Chinese immigrants in Muslim East Turkestan illegitimate. They represent the most tangible form of Chinese occupation... They must leave Turkestan and return to their places of origin. This statement is [our] first and last warning [to them]...

"We reject... all symbols of Jahili [i.e. non-Islamic] nationalism, as well as the deviant [ideology of] democracy in all its forms, and [declare] our opposition to them...

"We are an independent, organized Islamic group, under the command of an Emir and a leadership... in accordance with the Islamic principles of shura [consultation]."

Posted on 06/05/2008 3:07 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Yeah, and You Would Have Done ... What?

Congressional Quarterly provides this excerpt from Obama's AIPAC speech:

We knew, in 2002, that Iran supported terrorism. We knew Iran had an illicit nuclear program. We knew Iran posed a grave threat to Israel. But instead of pursuing a strategy to address this threat, we ignored it and instead invaded and occupied Iraq.

In 2002, and thereafter, the Bush administration was touting that the solution on Iran was diplomatic and was to encourage the feckless European negotiations with the mullahs.  Despite the futility of these negotiations, by 2006, the Bush administration jumped from encouraging them from the sidelines to direct participation in them.

What "strategy to address this threat" would Obama have employed?  He wants to negotiate with our enemies, and that's just what Bush was doing.  Of course, Obama preposterously asserts that the U.S. invasion of Iraq is what caused the "flames of extremism" to be fanned in Iran (he might want to check out the history of Iran, 1979 - 2003).  But other than not invading Iraq, what's the Messiah's Iran plan? 

Posted on 06/05/2008 3:26 PM by Andy McCarthy
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Who Says We Can't Find Common Ground With al Qaeda?

At his arraignment today, upon being advised by the military court of the possibility that he could be executed if convicted, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the jihadist savage who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks that killed nearly 3000 Americans, explained that this was fine by him because he would like to be a "martyr."  We should be delighted to accommodate him.  I see the makings of a deal here.

From the usual suspects, we're hearing the drivel about how killing him will only "fan the flames" of radicalism (to borrow Obama's vapid phrase).  Do they really think letting him live but keeping him in jail for life would mollify our enemies?  (In 1997, Egyptian terrorists in Luxor brutally murdered scores of tourists in an effort to extort the U.S. into releasing the Blind Sheikh — they seemed fairly upset about his life-sentence, and have continued to be upset as he continues to serve it.)  The flames of radicalism are already on full-time fan, folks.  It's silly to think we can affect them much one way or the other.  We have to forget about them and do what our security requires. 

Captured terrorists acquire great prestige in the jihadist movement.  From their prison cells, they have been known to issue fatwas, plan attacks, direct operations, and assault and maim the American prison authorities, soldiers and sailors who are assigned to guard them.  Let them become martyrs ... and the sooner the better.

Posted on 06/05/2008 3:55 PM by Andy McCarthy
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Alert as wartime UXB starts ticking
The operation has started to defuse and contain the largest World War II UXB found in 30 years in the River Lea in East London tonight. The Army bomb disposal squad is expected to work through the night again to minimise disruption to commuter trains on the District Line.
The best report is, as one would expect, from the East London Advertiser.
POLICE today praised the Army sapper who battled through the night to try and defuse the massive 2,000lb unexploded German wartime bomb uncovered in East London when it began ticking.
The device was unearthed by a mechanical digger at low tide on the Lea riverbed on Monday, where marine engineers were widening the bank to take barges for the 2012 Olympics site construction.
Army sappers were trying to make the 6ft device safe when they heard the ticking.
Police Commander Simon O’Brien told the East London Advertiser at the site: “The bomb began ticking while the Army engineer was working on it during the night. He heard a noise from the bomb and tried to mitigate it with chemicals.
“It was a serious situation. Army engineers made four attempts to make it safe.
If someone was working on it and it went off, he would have lost his life. The engineer is a hero and has done Londoners a great service.
Army sappers have now built an ‘igloo’ of sand around the bomb to cushion the blast if anything should go wrong.
Above the river is the railway viaduct carrying the London Underground District and Hammersmith & City lines, as well as the Fenchurch St-to-Southend main line.
The bomb ticking away delayed services starting up this morning. There were no trains between 5.30am and 9am. Trains didn’t resume until after the morning rush-hour.
Services are suspended again tonight when the Army makes its fifth attempt to make the bomb safe, ready to transport it away.
Army Sappers are to continue working on the bomb through the night, until 8am at the earliest. Trains will resume after the rush-hour.
Police meanwhile are continuing the 650ft exclusion zone around Sugar House Lane and Three Mill Lane.
The Three Mills TV and film studio complex remains shut, after staff were evacuated on Monday. Construction workers at the Volker Stevin marine civil engineering site came across the bomb which fell in the soft riverbed mud during a German air raid and failed to go off.
The Luftwaffe may have been aiming for the huge Bromley-by-Bow gasworks next to the District Line railway, a prime target for enemy action when Britain was at war.
The five marine engineers were using a heavy mechanical digger to widen and deepen the Channelsea, a tributary of the Lea, to make it non-tidal ready for barges carrying materials to the Olympic site.
“The digger suddenly hit this large metal object about 6ft long on the riverbed,” engineer Andrew Cowie told the Advertiser on Monday. “We had waited for the tide to go out and working against time when we made the discovery. We couldn’t believe what we found. It was massive. We called the foreman over and he confirmed it was a bomb.  Then we quickly evacuated the site and called police—we were taking no chances.”
The bomb is just a few hundred yards from the huge Bromley gasworks with its eight Victorian gasometers overlooking the District Line.
It was a prime target for the Luftwaffe when Britain was at war. Now, more than 60 years on, East London braces itself as the legacy of the Second World War rears itself again.
Unexploded WWII bombs are still found regularly and not just in London. There is a map of known bombs in London which went so deep they could not be extracted at the time. My father, ex Auxillary Fire Service and Fire Watcher was convinced that there were more of these than the authorities admitted to. When I was a child we played on the bombsites, which I think were the forerunner of modern “adventure playgrounds” and discovery of UXBs was a very frequent event. 
I suspect that the Olympic site has a few more surprises in store.
The reports don’t mention the proximity of the Abbeymills Mosque (aka the megamosque) which is the other side of the Channelsea River to the find. But if you look at the aerial view and map of the site here you can see the gasworks that may have been the intended target. The RTX chemical works previously on the mosque site may also have been the target. Who knows.
I will keep the brave men of the Royal Engineers in mind overnight.
Posted on 06/05/2008 4:26 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Robert Kennedy: Dispatches From The 1948 War In Palestine

Here is a preview of the full text of the four dispatches by Robert Kennedy from Palestine in May 1948, published in the Boston Post in June 1948.

Robert Kennedy's 1948 Reports from Palestine

Lenny Ben-David

  • In April 1948, one month before Israel declared independence, Robert Kennedy, then 22, traveled to Palestine to report on the conflict for the Boston Post. His four dispatches from the scene were published in June 1948. The newspaper closed in 1956, and for decades the reports were virtually forgotten. 
  • "Unfortunately for [the Jews, Jerusalem's water] reservoir is situated in the mountains and it and the whole pipeline are controlled by the Arabs. The British would not let them cut the water off until after May 15th but an Arab told me they would not even do it then. First they would poison it."
  • The Arab responsible for the blowing up of the Jewish Agency on March 11, 1948, said "that after the explosion, upon reaching the British post which separated the Jewish section from a small neutral zone set up in the middle of Jerusalem, he was questioned by the British officers in charge. He quite freely admitted what he had done and was given immediate passage with the remark, ‘Nice going.'"
  • "The Jews informed the British government that 600 Iraqi troops were going to cross into Palestine from Trans-Jordan by the Allenby Bridge on a certain date and requested the British to take appropriate action to prevent this passage. The troops crossed unmolested....I saw several thousand non-Palestinian Arab troops in Palestine, including many of the famed British-trained and equipped Arab legionnaires of King Abdullah [of Trans-Jordan]. There were also soldiers from Syria, Lebanon, Iraq."
  • "The Arabs in command believe that eventually victory must be theirs. It is against all law and nature that this Jewish state should exist. They...promise that if it does become a reality it will never have as neighbors anything but hostile countries, which will continue the fight militarily and economically until victory is achieved."
  • "The Jews on the other hand believe that in a few more years, if a Jewish state is formed, it will be the only stabilizing factor remaining in the Near and Middle East. The Arab world is made up of many disgruntled factions which would have been at each other's throats long ago if it had not been for the common war against Zionism."
Posted on 06/05/2008 9:27 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Thursday, 5 June 2008
A Musical Interlude: Blue Rhapsody (Pyotr Leshchenko)
Posted on 06/05/2008 10:06 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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